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Boron Neutron Capture Therapy of Cancer

Edited by Rolf F. Barth

Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for treating locally invasive malignant tumors such as primary brain tumors and recurrent head and neck cancer. It is a two-step procedure: first, the patient is injected with a tumor localizing, non-radioactive boron-10 containing drug that has a high propensity to capture slow neutrons. In the second step, the patient is radiated with epithermal neutrons, which after losing energy as they penetrate tissue, are absorbed by the boron-10, and the resulting nuclear capture and fission reactions yield high-energy alpha particles, thereby killing the cancer cells. It has been used to treat two of the most therapeutically refractory human cancers, high grade gliomas and recurrent cancers of the head and neck region. In theory, it is an ideal type of radiation therapy since it is both physically and biologically targeted. 

In this thematic series of papers on BNCT, four reports will summarize some of the successes and failures of BNCT, possible ways to improve its effectiveness, and the challenges that must be surmounted if it ever will become anything more than a seductively attractive but unrealistic therapeutic modality.

This series was published in Cancer Communications.

  1. Although the most commonly recommended treatment for melanoma and extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD) of the genital region is wide surgical excision of the lesion, the procedure is highly invasive and can lea...

    Authors: Junichi Hiratsuka, Nobuhiko Kamitani, Ryo Tanaka, Eisaku Yoden, Ryuji Tokiya, Minoru Suzuki, Rolf F. Barth and Koji Ono
    Citation: Cancer Communications 2018 38:38
  2. Head and neck (HN) cancer is an endemic disease in Taiwan, China. Locally recurrent HN cancer after full-dose irradiation poses a therapeutic challenge, and boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) may be a soluti...

    Authors: Ling-Wei Wang, Yen-Wan Hsueh Liu, Fong-In Chou and Shiang-Huei Jiang
    Citation: Cancer Communications 2018 38:37
  3. Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a binary radiotherapeutic modality based on the nuclear capture and fission reactions that occur when the stable isotope, boron-10, is irradiated with neutrons to produc...

    Authors: Rolf F. Barth, Peng Mi and Weilian Yang
    Citation: Cancer Communications 2018 38:35